Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1


Chapter 6—A Healthy Normality

The Source of True Happiness—There are persons with a diseased imagination to whom religion is a tyrant, ruling them as with a rod of iron. Such are constantly mourning over their depravity and groaning over supposed evil. Love does not exist in their hearts; a frown is ever upon their countenances. They are chilled with the innocent laugh from the youth or from anyone. They consider all recreation or amusement a sin and think that the mind must be constantly wrought up to just such a stern, severe pitch. This is one extreme. 1MCP 48.1

Others think that the mind must be ever on the stretch to invent new amusements and diversions in order to gain health. They learn to depend on excitement, and are uneasy without it. Such are not true Christians. They go to another extreme. 1MCP 48.2

The true principles of Christianity open before all a source of happiness, the height and depth, the length and breadth of which are immeasurable. It is Christ in us a well of water springing up into everlasting life. It is a continual wellspring from which the Christian can drink at will and never exhaust the fountain.—Testimonies for the Church 1:565, 566 (1867). 1MCP 48.3

Zeal Which Quickly Fades—We are not to encourage a spirit of enthusiasm that brings zeal for a while but soon fades away, leaving discouragement and depression. We need the Bread of life that comes down from heaven to give life to the soul. Study the Word of God. Do not be controlled by feeling. All who labor in the vineyard of the Lord must learn that feeling is not faith. To be always in a state of elevation is not required. But it is required that we have firm faith in the Word of God as the flesh and blood of Christ.—Letter 17, 1902 (Evangelism, 138.) 1MCP 49.1

Neither Cold Orthodoxy Nor Careless Liberalism—The progress of reform depends upon a clear recognition of fundamental truth. While, on the one hand, danger lurks in a narrow philosophy and a hard, cold orthodoxy, on the other hand there is great danger in a careless liberalism. The foundation of all enduring reform is the law of God. We are to present in clear, distinct lines the need of obeying this law. Its principles must be kept before the people. They are as everlasting and inexorable as God Himself.—The Ministry of Healing, 129 (1905). 1MCP 49.2

Well-balanced Minds Needed—Much is said in the Epistles of being sound in the faith. This should teach us the necessity of caution. We must not weave into our experience our own inclinations and strong traits of character. This will misrepresent the precious, elevating, ennobling principles of truth and lead others astray. Soundness in the faith means more than many discern. It means to correct every error that exists in our thoughts and actions, lest we corrupt the Word of God. 1MCP 49.3

There are needed for this time well-balanced minds, healthy, wholesome Christians. Many of those who profess Christ have a sickly experience. They cannot bear anything unfavorable. They lose heart if they think they are in any way slighted or hurt, if their brethren have not been as tender with them as they think they should be. The Great Physician would, by His infinite skill, restore them to sound moral health; but the patient refuses to take the prescription He offers. These persons may apply the Word of God to their case for a short time, but they do not become doers of that Word. They soon come under influences which suit their natural tastes and counteract all they have gained.—The Review and Herald, July 28, 1896. 1MCP 49.4

All Faculties to Be Cultivated—If certain faculties are used to the neglect of others, the design of God is not fully carried out in us, for all the faculties have a bearing and are dependent, in a great measure, upon one another. One cannot be effectually used without the operation of all, that the balance may be carefully preserved. If all the attention and strength are given to one, while others lie dormant, the development is strong in that one and will lead to extremes, because all the powers have not been cultivated. Some minds are dwarfed and not properly balanced. All minds are not naturally constituted alike. We have varied minds; some are strong upon certain points and very weak upon others. These deficiencies, so apparent, need not and should not exist. 1MCP 50.1

If those who possess them would strengthen the weak points in their character by cultivation and exercise, they would become strong.—Testimonies for the Church 3:33 (1872). 1MCP 50.2

Call All Powers of Mind Into Use—All the powers of the mind should be called into use and developed in order for men and women to have well-balanced minds. The world is full of one-sided men and women who have become such because one set of their faculties was cultivated while others were dwarfed from inaction. 1MCP 50.3

The education of most youth is a failure. They overstudy, while they neglect that which pertains to practical business life. Men and women become parents without considering their responsibilities, and their offspring sink lower in the scale of human deficiency than they themselves. Thus the race is fast degenerating. 1MCP 50.4

The constant application to study, as the schools are now conducted [1872], is unfitting youth for practical life. The human mind will have action. If it is not active in the right direction, it will be active in the wrong. In order to preserve the balance of the mind, labor and study should be united in the schools.—Testimonies for the Church 3:152, 153 (1872). 1MCP 50.5

Means of Improvement Within Reach of All—Young men are wanted who are men of understanding, who appreciate the intellectual faculties that God has given them and cultivate them with the utmost care. Exercise enlarges these faculties, and if heart-culture is not neglected, the character will be well-balanced. The means of improvement are within the reach of all. Then let none disappoint the Master, when He comes seeking for fruit, by presenting nothing but leaves. A resolute purpose, sanctified by the grace of Christ, will do wonders.—Manuscript 122, 1899. 1MCP 51.1

Body, Mind, Heart, Under God's Control—He who truly loves and fears God, striving with a singleness of purpose to do His will, will place his body, his mind, his heart, his soul, his strength, under service to God. Thus it was with Enoch. He walked with God.... Those who are determined to make the will of God their own must serve and please God in everything. Then the character will be harmonious and well-balanced, consistent, cheerful, and true.—Letter 128, 1897 (In Heavenly Places, 190.) 1MCP 51.2

Faculties of Mind to Rule the Body—True education includes the whole being. It teaches the right use of one's self. It enables us to make the best use of brain, bone, and muscle, of body, mind, and heart. The faculties of the mind, as the higher powers, are to rule the kingdom of the body. The natural appetites and passions are to be brought under the control of the conscience and the spiritual affections. Christ stands at the head of humanity, and it is His purpose to lead us, in His service, into high and holy paths of purity. By the wondrous working of His grace, we are to be made complete in Him.—The Ministry of Healing, 398, 399 (1905). 1MCP 51.3

Well-developed Minds and Broad Characters—God's workmen must labor to be many-sided men; that is, to have a breadth of character, not to be one-idea men, stereotyped in one manner of working, getting into a groove, and unable to see and sense that their words and their advocacy of truth must vary with the class of people they are among and the circumstances that they have to meet. All should be constantly seeking for well-developed minds and to overcome ill-balanced characters. This must be your constant study, if you make a useful, successful laborer.—Letter 12, 1887 (Evangelism, 106.) 1MCP 52.1

Commonplace, Trivial Matters Dwarf the Mind—Upon the mind of every student should be impressed the thought that education is a failure unless the understanding has learned to grasp the truths of divine revelation and unless the heart accepts the teachings of the gospel of Christ. The student who, in the place of the broad principles to the Word of God, will accept common ideas and will allow the time and attention to be absorbed in commonplace, trivial matters, will find his mind becoming dwarfed and enfeebled. He has lost the power of growth. The mind must be trained to comprehend the important truths that concern eternal life.—The Review and Herald, November 11, 1909.(Fundamentals of Christian Education, 536.)  1MCP 52.2

Minds Not to Be Crowded With Useless Things—Education, as it is conducted in the schools of today [1897], is one-sided, and therefore a mistake. As the purchase of the Son of God, we are His property, and everyone should have an education in the school of Christ. Wise teachers should be chosen for our schools. Teachers have to deal with human minds, and they are responsible to God to impress upon those minds the necessity of knowing Christ as a personal Saviour. But no one can truly educate God's purchased possession unless he himself has learned in the school of Christ how to teach. 1MCP 52.3

I must tell you from the light given me by God, I know that much time and money are spent by students in acquiring a knowledge that is as chaff to them; for it does not enable them to help their fellowmen to form characters that will fit them to unite with saints and angels in the higher school. In the place of crowding youthful minds with a mass of things that are distasteful and that in many cases will never be of any use to them, a practical education should be given. Time and money are spent in gaining useless knowledge. The mind should be carefully and wisely taught to dwell upon Bible truth. The main object of education should be to gain a knowledge of how we can glorify God, whose we are by creation and by redemption. The result of education should be to enable us to understand the voice of God.... 1MCP 52.4

Like the branches of the True Vine, the Word of God presents unity in diversity. There is in it a perfect, superhuman, mysterious unity. It contains divine wisdom, and that is the foundation of all true education; but this Book has been treated indifferently. 1MCP 53.1

Now, as never before, we need to understand the true science of education. If we fail to understand this, we shall never have a place in the kingdom of God. “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). If this is the price of heaven, shall not our education be conducted on these lines?—The Christian Educator, August 1, 1897, par.4. 1MCP 53.2

Making Iron Rule for Others Dishonors God—God will not vindicate any device whereby man shall in the slightest degree rule or oppress his fellowman. As soon as a man begins to make an iron rule for other men, he dishonors God and imperils his own soul and the souls of his brethren.—Testimonies for the Church 7:181 (1902). 1MCP 53.3

Balance of Differing Minds Necessary—Here we are brought together—of different minds, different education, and different training—and we do not expect that every mind will run right in the same channel; but the question is, Are we, the several branches, grafted into the parent Vine? That is what we want to inquire, and we want to ask teachers as well as students. We want to understand whether we are really grafted into the parent Vine. If we are, we may have different manners, different tones, and different voices. You may view things from one standpoint, and we have ideas different from one another in regard to the Scriptures, not in opposition to the Scriptures, but our ideas may vary. My mind may run in the lines most familiar to it, and another may be thinking and taking a view according to his traits of character, and see a very deep interest in one side of it that others do not see.—Manuscript 14, 1894. 1MCP 53.4

The Hyssop, the Cedar, and the Palm—In all the Lord's arrangements there is nothing more beautiful than His plan of giving to men and women a diversity of gifts. The church is His garden, adorned with a variety of trees, plants, and flowers. He does not expect the hyssop to assume the proportions of the cedar, nor the olive to reach the height of the stately palm. Many have received but a limited religious and intellectual training, but God has a work for this class to do if they will labor in humility, trusting in Him.—Letter 122, 1902 (Evangelism, 98, 99). 1MCP 54.1

Characters as Varied as the Flowers—From the endless variety of plants and flowers, we may learn an important lesson. All blossoms are not the same in form or color. Some possess healing virtues. Some are always fragrant. There are professing Christians who think it their duty to make every other Christian like themselves. This is man's plan, not the plan of God. In the church of God there is room for characters as varied as are the flowers in a garden. In His spiritual garden there are many varieties of flowers.—Letter 95, 1902 (Evangelism, 99.) 1MCP 54.2

Powers of Mind and Body—the Gift of God—The requirements of God must be brought home to the conscience. Men and women must be awakened to the duty of self-mastery, the need of purity, freedom from every depraving appetite and defiling habit. They need to be impressed with the fact that all their powers of mind and body are the gift of God and are to be preserved in the best possible condition for His service.—The Ministry of Healing, 130 (1905). 1MCP 54.3

God Desires Symmetrical Characters—God reproves men because He loves them. He wants them to be strong in His strength, to have well-balanced minds and symmetrical characters; then they will be examples to the flock of God, leading them by precept and example nearer to heaven. Then they will build up a holy temple for God.—Manuscript 1, 1883. (Selected Messages 1:48.) 1MCP 55.1